The Best Heads for a Marshall Half Stack

If you're looking for a new decent command center to create a half stack for yourself, then cash can be a concern, but we've gathered the best heads to show you exactly what's available for a Marshall half stack setup.

Since Marshall is the firm behind the first-ever stacks, their salt is well worth the majority of their heads on the market.

View The Best Heads for a Marshall Half Stack Below

1. Marshall MG100HCFX MG Series

We have something from the more affordably priced end of the scale, first up. This is MG Gold's highly capable 100-watt alternative, which offers up to four channels and can power one cab or two 4x12 cabs.

It is structurally sound and offers some pretty compelling tube tones for players. Clean, crunch, and overdrive 1 or 2 consist of the channel choices.

Thanks to its simple layout, users can customize the gain, bass, mid, treble, and reverb with total ease. You also have an effects volume control, an impact selector, and master volume, as well as the dials.

Then you can control how pronounced the effect is inside the tone if you tweak the effect selector. This gives users a lot of space for a broad range of classic effects to be made.


+ four outlets.
+ Wonderful tonal potential.
+ Control head capable of one cab or two 4x12 cabs.

Why We Liked It

In some circles, the MG series has been the target of snobbery, but in terms of tone, the newer CFX one brings a lot to the table, and is comparable to higher-end amps for the variety of opportunities they offer.

2. Marshall JVM410H

A little richer in taste is the next choice for discussion; the JVM410H from the Vintage model series is truly a tube-driven dream amp that provides genuine epochal vintage sound.

As far as tones go, these amps are well endowed, but for anyone entirely new, it might be harder to handle, as the dials are a little daunting.

With outstanding engineering, these amps are a pro-level choice, which allows for faithful reproduction and a huge amount of versatility. It is fitted with five pre-amps ECC83, four power tubes EL-34, and, again, presents players with four channels like the above MG homage.

Via three distinct modes, which are LEDs marked as red, orange and green, each channel can be changed - they sculpt the strength.

You also have control dials for reverb, bass, treble and middle, as well as gain and volume, on top of the modes that offer you 12 distinct flavors, while volume is bypassed in green mode. The gain is applied post equalization in red and orange.

Amazing is the clean, with great headroom, and the overdrives are free of charge. Also, the optical reverb is quite impressive.


+ Conventional Head Tube Amp.
+ Versatility for murderers.
+ Intuitive style.

Why We Liked It - 

This head of the amp sounds as though it costs twice as much. It has some quintessential tonal attributes, and is very flexible. It also includes a MIDI that gives it additional apps.

3. Marshall DSL Series

The DSL is a go-to series for most of us, and although it pales compared to the superior sound of the JVM, it provides what we want in a more practical setting, as far as the price is concerned.

With a 3 band equalization section that includes a presence and resonance dial, the DSL100H is a 2 channel option. There are 2 modes, clean versus crunch, lead one/two, and the popular classic and ultra gain controlled reverb cluster. Basically, the setup gives you a clean, and also 3 distinct overdrives to tweak to perfection.

It is extensive in the variety of tones that it can muster. With its classic style, it is well made and pretty straightforward to play with.


+ Priced fairly.
+ Classic tone range.
+ Wonderful engineering.

Why We Liked It_ In terms of amplification, it is one of the staple solutions.

4. Marshall CODE 100W Guitar Amp

Finally, for those with less savings to splurge, we feature the CODE 100W head. To replicate fifty years of the brand's signature sounds, the code guitar amps series was created.

It is a very well-made modeling head that provides users with 14 pre-amp settings, four separate power amp modes to run through, and eight different cabinet emulators for mix-and-match freedom.

There are 24 digital guitar effects to play with on top of this, bringing great potential and flexibility to this guitar amp. The Code 100 Guitar Amp has a classic appearance and is easy to use. Thanks to its digital nature and cutting-edge conveniences, the guitar amp can also be operated remotely via USB or Bluetooth.


+ head of modeling.
+ Affordable Probability.
+ Simulator for Cabinet.

Why We Liked It

You'll find a fantastic collection of sounds onboard with Code100 Guitar amps. For some beefy overdrives, we like the cab emulators that thicken and fatten the sound.

Marshall Half Stack Buyers Guide

In contrast to spec-heavy, as we feel our reviews have been very explanatory, we have left our guide on the shorter side, keeping the emphasis basic.

What Is a Half Stack?

A half stack is a name given to the combination of a head amp and an extension cab for those who don't have an idea. Usually, a full-stack would feature 2 different cabinets stacked vertically, with an angled incline in the top cab.

In an age where, thanks to the guitar, rock-and-roll was getting louder and heavier, the Marshall full stack was made. This was when new electric guitars were being perfected and the players wanted fresh volume that clearly could not be produced by the systems in use.

This grew at an uncontrollable pace before we finally got to see guitar artists like Blue Öyster Cult and Slayer's walls of cabs that epitomized the early seventies as the guitar artists grew into the hall of legends of fame and overnight the venues got bigger and bigger.

As house P.A capabilities have grown, a full-stack for most casual circuit venues these days is overkill. A half stack is a good middle ground, which puts the power behind you to hear yourself over the drummer, but does not overshadow the rest of the crowd, nor drown out from the main left and right what you are bringing out directly to the audience.

What To Look For In A Head For A Marshall Half Stack?

You need to determine whether you're bound to the tubes, delighted with a tribute, or chasing retro vibes in order to keep it short. This will add up so that, of course, in your decision-making, the budget will be central, and what product you can eventually get.

Once you are over the thousand dollar mark, the production standard does not vary. Understandably, a cheaper one is constructed on cheaper, outsourced factory lines.

Once you know what kind you're looking for, in our opinion, you're not going to find yourself disappointed with a new Marshall head. When it comes to the cabinet, you can always change brands if there is a specific speaker that you would like to have.

A modeling amp provides a lot of space for your tone to be played with, but for others, these amps will still sound synthetic.

If the tubes blow on you, an analog head will be much heavier and a little harder to repair, but for many it is the better option, and synthetic soundless than amps.


If you can't really go wrong with our purchasing guide, and all the options we provided, once you've determined whether you're going to get digital or analog, the capabilities our choices serve up are really only dictated by your budget allocation.

If you have less to invest, or want to get the benefit of your money, you can also get a solid-state option in the FX department that serves up a reasonable amount of scope. But, note that when cash permits anyway, you can still put an effects pedalboard into the chain further down the road.

If you're looking for memorable retro vibes and think that digital amps just don't cut it, then look for an all-tube amp head, but be prepared to split considerable amounts of cash. We're sure you'll find the one you're looking for, anyway.

Expert Tip

If you are less concerned about money, we suggest looking at the JTM Plexi remakes that are fitted as the original model with the fresh, genuine GZ34 valve rectifications and provide the same iconic harmonics.

Did you Know

The Who are accountable for prompting Jim Marshall to build the half stack set-up that soon became what we are familiar with at festivals.